These free Android apps and tips can make your phone much more useful.
Android phones are very popular now-a-days, and most people know the basics. They can text, call, and maybe even use Facebook, but there’s so much more out there that people don’t know about. The world of Android is almost limitless, and there are plenty of great Android apps you can get on your phone that you might not know about yet. The best part: this is all free.
10. Share Files
Dropbox is a great service for storing files online, and also syncing them between computers, but they also have an Android app. It’s extremely simple and extremely useful. All you do is set up an account, and you can access any of your files from anywhere. No more forgetting flash drives. On the computer, you even get a Dropbox folder that syncs all its contents automatically.
9. Control your TV
Not every cable provider is this advanced, but some of them have Android apps that you can use to control your TV. I use Verizon FiOS for instance, and their app is extremely featured. One of the best parts is the ability to schedule your DVR from anywhere with Internet access. You can also surf the channels and use playback controls (fast-forward and rewind) from your Wi-Fi network. The app also has a keyboard that is much easier to use than your standard remote control.
8. Test your Speed
Speed Test is great when you want to know just how fast your current Internet connection is. It works with both mobile networks and home Wi-Fi networks. It’s very easy to use, and it can help you know if you’re getting the speed you need. It’s especially useful on home networks, if you feel that your ISP is ripping you off, or if you think something at home might be hogging all the speed.
Many larger banks have Android apps that can make it easy to do banking on the go. I use PNC, and it’s great when you want to move money around without grabbing the laptop. Look around and see if your bank has a similar Android app. PayPal is an online money service that also has a nice app.
6. Check Gas Prices
With gas prices rising quickly, it’s helpful to know the cheapest place around. GasBuddy can show you a map of every gas station near you and the latest price update. This can be especially useful when you’re on a road trip, but really, it can save you money anywhere. It’s extremely simple, and you can save quite a few bucks simply by checking before you pump. They also raffle off gift cards to those who submit prices.
OK, so this Android app is relatively popular, but it’s still worth mentioning here. Amazon’s Kindle app lets you carry all your books on your phone. When it’s linked to your Amazon account, you can sync the same books on all kinds of devices, including tablets, PCs, and actual Kindles. One of the best parts on e-books is the availability of free classics. After 70 years, books no longer have copyrights, so they can be distributed for free all over the Internet.
4. Get Paid Apps for Free
Every day, the Amazon Appstore has a paid app available for free. This store is not connected to Google Play, but it works the same way, its just run by Amazon instead of Google. Sometimes the free apps are junk, but if you keep watching, you can easily find a gem for no cost at all. Don’t forget to check the ratings first though, because it’s probably not worth downloading if it has more 1-star reviews than 5-star reviews.
3. Wake Up to Pandora
Pandora radio is already a very popular app. You should already be using it, but for those of you who remain in the dark, it’s an online radio service. All you have to do is type in a song, artist, or genre and it automatically creates a station with related music for free. That’s as far as most people get, but AppAlarm Pro adds a great feature. It allows you to set an alarm for a specific Pandora station. That way, you can wake up every day to your favorite artist and similar music.
2. Easily Keep Track of Your Data Usage
Service providers no longer sell unlimited data plans for cell phones. That means it’s usually not good to run every app on your phone freely, without regard for how much data you’re using. Some people never come close to their limit, but it’s still important to keep an eye on your usage. Sometimes there is a special phone number in your contacts that will tell you how much data you’ve used for the month, but that’s useless compared to My Data Manager. This Android app keeps track of all your other apps, and how much data they are using. That way, you can spot if an app is using much more data than it should be. There is also a very convenient widget that lets you see your usage right on your home screen.
1. Root and More!
You always have to be cautious when ‘hacking’ your phone, but it’s often worth it. Do a Google search for how to root your specific phone model, and you should find some good instructions out there somewhere. Rooting is one thing, and it opens up quite a few doors, especially when it comes to optimizing your phone, and backing up, but you can take this even farther. Installing a custom ROM, such as CyanogenMod (a ROM is almost like an operating system) can also be quite convenient. Better ROMs can offer better features like landscape home screens, CM7’s unique lockscreen gestures, and much more.
These are a few of the best lesser known Android apps out there. Of course, it is very likely that there are loads more just waiting to be discovered, so go ahead, look around, and see if you can find some Android apps suited to your needs!